Leicester is a city known for its impressive modernity. It’s one of the most multicultural places in the UK and hosts world-class universities and a vibrant cultural scene.
Perhaps it’s surprising then that Leicester is also reputed to be one of the most haunted cities in the country, featuring a host of paranormal hotspots.
Here are the top ten most haunted places in Leicester.
1. Belgrave Hall
Built in 1709, Belgrave Hall is a Grade II* listed house located on the northern edge of Leicester.
The building has been the site of intense paranormal activity over the years. Most famously, Belgrave Hall found itself in the limelight in 1998 when CCTV footage appeared to show a ghostly white figure at the rear of the property. The apparition is believed to be Charlotte Ellis, the daughter of one of the previous owners of the buildings.
A number of other spirits are said to haunt the building – one repeat visitor is the so-called ‘Victorian Lady’, a ghost in a long dress who is often found on the lower staircase staring into the garden.
Leicester Castle was built in the 11th century and, as a royal residence, housed multiple monarchs over the years as well as John of Gaunt.
While only a mound remains from the original castle, the compound is said to contain many of the spirits of those who lived and died there over the centuries.
Beware of mysterious lights and flame-like apparitions – the original structure was burned down by Henry II during a siege of Leicester in the 1100s, and it’s thought that some of those responsible haunt the grounds of the compound.
3. Beaumanor Hall
Beaumanor Hall is an impressive stately home located on the edge of the Charnwood Forest. It’s been used as a family home and even as a World War II listening station.
Despite its stunning beauty inside and out, Beaumanor Hall is a hotbed for hauntings and strange events. You’ll have to be wary of sitting down to eat in the main dining room, as staff are said to have witnessed repeat poltergeist activity with plates and glasses being thrown across the table.
It’s also rumoured that the spirit of a coachman who hanged himself in the attic roams the building, desperately searching for a way out of the manor.
4. Leicester Guildhall
Part of this quaint timber framed building dates back to 1390, making the Leicester Guildhall the oldest structure in the city.
Over the years the building has been used as a theatre, feastroom and a courtroom. Purported past visitors to the Guildhall include William Shakespeare and Oliver Cromwell.
It’s said that as many as five ghosts haunt the Guildhall, including a groaning civil war soldier and an inquisitive policeman. Paranormal occurrences inside the building include unexplained footsteps in empty rooms, and a copy of the Bible repeatedly opening on its own to a verse concerning witchcraft…
A former sewage pumping station containing four working steam engines, this museum may seem an odd location for paranormal activity – but the station has a sad and grisly past.
In 1890, 43-year-old labourer Robert Richardson slipped on some scaffolding and fell 45 feet, causing severe internal injuries that led to his death in hospital two days later. Robert’s death may explain the strange, unnerving feeling that somebody is there with them that many volunteers and visitors have reported when in the basement of the engine house.
Furthermore, the ghosts of several small children have been sighted in the main gallery of the museum.
6. Newarke Houses
The Newarke Houses Museum occupies two Elizabethan houses that were used in the 1645 Siege of Leicester during the English Civil War: Chantry House and Skeffington House.
A number of spirits are said to reside in these historic buildings, and that’s without mentioning the countless sightings that have been reported of Civil War soldiers in the grounds and gardens outside the houses.
Apparitions that have been seen repeatedly in the Newarke Houses include that of a man in Elizabethan dress moving through walls; a dark, faceless, cloaked figure waiting at the top of a staircase; and a young boy in a sailor costume sitting in the drawing room.
7. Bosworth Hall Hotel & Spa
A gruesome tale of forbidden love explains the haunting of Bosworth Hall Hotel, a gorgeous 17th century mansion located near the site of the famous Battle of Bosworth.
A so-called ‘Grey Lady’ stalks the rooms and grounds of the manor. She’s believed to be the ghost of Anne Dixie, the daughter of the Baronet of Bosworth. Anne was in love with a gardener at Bosworth Hall, a romance that caused great anger in her father.
In an attempt to catch the gardener, the Baronet set a mantrap which mistakenly targeted his daughter instead, and Anne died a painful and bloody death. Bloodstains can supposedly still be seen on some of the wooden floors in the building, while the daughter’s spirit can be seen wandering, searching aimlessly for her lover.
Winstanley House Hotel is a Grade II listed Georgian home built in 1775.
The building is supposedly so haunted that one objector tried to thwart its development into a hotel in 2015, suggesting that the proposed improvements would disturb dark spirits on the site and lead to tragedy, death, and bad luck.
Thankfully the development went forward, as Winstanley House now hosts a beautiful hotel and restaurant – but it’s still reputed for its paranormal activity.
Spooky occurrences at the house include a wandering apparition of a nun; a dark spectral funeral carriage turning up at night; multiple unexplained screams and orbs; and a ghostly male figure throwing himself from the top floor window.
Who knows what else you might see if you decide to stay there…
With some elements of the building dating back to the 1300s, Aylestone Hall is thought to be one of the oldest inhabited structures in Leicester.
Set in a public park, the Grade II listed building was formerly a girls’ boarding school, which may explain the repeated sightings of a ghostly woman dressed all in black haunting the grounds of the manor.
Many believe that the figure worked as a teacher or matron at the boarding school and died there, her spirit doomed to search for her students in vain for eternity.
A former coaching inn, the 17th century Talbot Inn in Belgrave has provided shelter for travellers passing through Leicester for centuries.
It’s believed that criminals on death row went to the inn prior to their executions for their last meals. Soon after they were put to excruciating deaths either by hanging or being burned at the stake at the Red Hill gallows – the dead would then be brought back to a mortuary that stood next to the Talbot.
It’s no surprise then that a number of unexplained events occur frequently at the pub, including groans and screams being heard and ghostly pub-goers often spotted in corners.